About Sam

I am 33 years old and was born and raised in central Minnesota, the oldest of six children. I began flying in 1994 at the age of 13, soloed on my 16th birthday, and earned my Private Pilot License on my 17th. After high school I attended the University of North Dakota's aviation program. Starting in 2001, I built my flight experience with a series of jobs as a flight instructor and later as a "freight dog" hauling on-demand cargo on the west coast. In 2004 I was hired as a Q400 turboprop First Officer by Horizon Air of Portland OR, but left after 3.5 years to fly Embraer 170/175s for Compass Airlines. I was a Captain there for six years before being hired by a major US airline, where I hope to finish out my career!

I currently live near Minneapolis with Dawn, my wife of 11 years. We are both active motorcyclists and have ridden to Alaska and back, around the circumference of the Lower 48, and up and down the Appalachians. We still enjoy flying GA and own a 1/12th share in a flying club Piper J3 Cub that's absolutely perfect for exploring Minnesota's grass strips on a warm summer evening. My little brother and I also partner in a little 21-foot Santana sailboat we sail on Lake Minnetonka. Dawn sails too but prefers more substantial boats like the Beneteaus we occasionally charter in SoCal and the Caribbean. We both have a decent bit of wanderlust in our veins, and have been fortunate to explore a good portion of the US together as well as visit 35 or so countries on five continents. As you may have guessed, we don't have kids!

I've enjoyed writing since I was young, and started this blog in 2005 as a creative outlet. I began writing for Flying magazine in 2013, and since last November have penned the monthly "Taking Wing" column. I enjoy hearing from readers and welcome your comments, questions, & suggestions via email or post comments.